Captain Sara is a pilot for American Airlines. She had the following to say about Success stories of the Trans* Community.
I don’t have a website, a photo gallery, or a philosophy to impart. Everything I want to say is in that one picture you’re seeing above: being a transsexual woman does not preclude you from holding a position of respect and responsibility, nor from being able to smile about the whole business afterwards.
In my view, this Success Page is about you, not us. For those who are transitioning, or thinking about it, it is to show that others have made it and are rooting for you. The fact that we have “succeeded” does not mean we were in any way superior or luckier than you. Believe me, along the way I endured every bit of the clinical depression, alcohol abuse, and personal despair that Lynn Conway describes. Most of us did, at least then. Years ago this was a very solitary path, often with entirely uncertain outcome. Today it is still a long way from being easy, but there is no reason for it to be a solitary effort.
There was a pivotal moment in my own transition when I attended a talk by a most remarkable woman. She was a well-placed executive, obviously of exceptional intelligence and with the relaxed bearing of one used to the trappings of authority. Her poise was such that I would have turned to look at her had she passed on the street. It was only as she commenced her talk on transsexualism that it occurred to me that she was post-operative herself. I thought “There, at last, is the thing I want to be.” It was not a casual moment; I was quite thunderstruck.
Here was someone of such accomplishment that her gender transition rated barely a passing nod. I got to know her later and we became friends, and with time she subsided to merely mortal status in my mind. But I never forgot how important she had been as that first role model. So that is what I would urge of the reader. Look to this page for examples if you will, but then go out and do us one better. Be the one beside whom the next generation looks to us as nothing more than ordinary mortals. I would be far prouder of that than to be the best airline captain in the world.
Transitioning has taught me two things. First is that integrity has no gender. If you hold your head up and treat others with kindness and respect, they will respond in kind and not worry about whether to stamp you pink or blue. Second is that there is hardly anything inherently male or female, save a few bodily functions. There is only shifting fashion. I used to agonize that my attraction to flying or motorcycles or other outdoor pursuits, things June Cleaver never did, were proof positive that I couldn’t possibly be female inside. Today an all-female airline crew is no big deal, every other Harley has a woman on it, and the F-18 that shoots you down is likely to be callsign Lipstick. The world changes. Female is not a thing you do; it’s what you are.